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Focus on youth applauded

Media statement
Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Focus on youth applauded by employers and manufacturers group

Labour and National leaders' focus on youth development in their first major speeches of the year are welcome, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) or EMA.

"The Prime Minister Helen Clark is right to extend compulsory education by two years to 13 years (from 16 to 18 years old)," says EMA chief executive, Alasdair Thompson.

"And The Leader of the Opposition John Key is right to focus on the 20 per cent of youths who leave school ill equipped to be productive workers.

"While 80 per cent of New Zealanders are well educated in their 11 years of compulsory education, 20 per cent come through that unable to read, write and do sums adequately.

"Such young people are feedstock for unemployment welfare and crime.

"We are pleased the Labour Party in office has invested more in vocational training to meet the demand for skilled people.

"National's John Key is right to give both teeth and support to youth who have already gone off the rails. Helen Clark is right in focusing on raising youth skills. Both approaches will equip the targeted group to be productive workers rather than potentially expensive members of society as criminals and welfare dependants," Mr Thompson says.

ENDS

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